Nepal Prorogues Budget Session Amid Tensions: Key Developments

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The Nepal government on Thursday, 2 July, decided to prorogue the ongoing Budget Session. The decision to discontinue the session without dissolving comes amid calls for Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s resignation.

Prime Minister Oli on Thursday noon met country’s president Bidhya Devi Bhandari for approval to prorogue the session and the Cabinet's proposal was session was approved by her.

Apart from being the prime minister, Oli is also the chairperson of the Nepal Communist Party. However, he shares this post with Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Recently, a group of leaders with the party had raised objection to Oli’s statement regarding the recent border dispute with India.

This objection has now led to a demand for his resignation. Since this demand has come from the faction within the party led by Dahal, the political crisis threatens Oli’s future.

Prime Minister Holds Meetings With Confidants

In Nepal, all eyes are on Prime Minister Oli, since the leader is expected to address the nation after his party's senior leadership has sought his resignation. The decision to hold a cabinet meeting at his house and the decision to prorogue budget session are part of his attempts to control the political situation.

A report in The Himalayan Times said that Prime Minister Oli held a meeting with his key confidants, including Cabinet ministers, to assess his options. The report quoting Gandaki Province Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung, who was present in the meeting, said that his confidants suggested that the Oli should reach out to party leaders in an attempt to win their confidence.

However, they asked him not to quit his position as prime minister or co-chairperson of the party.

Leaders Meet Dahal

While prime minister was holding emergency meeting, Nepal Communist Party co-chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday morning held discussions with leaders close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

According to The Kathmandu Post, Party General Secretary Bishnu Poudel, Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokhrel, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, Chief Minister of Province 5 Shankar Pokhrel, Prime Minister Oli’s chief advisor Bishnu Rimal and deputy Parliamentary Party leader Subash Nembang had reached Dahal’s residence in Khumaltar at around 8.30am on Thursday.

During the discussions, the leaders asked to chairpersons (Dahal and Oli) to come to an agreement following discussion. To this demand, the Dahal told the leaders that the prime minister should follow the party’s system, procedures and its decisions.

What Led to the Crisis?

Addressing a meeting on Sunday, the Nepalese PM had reportedly said that meetings were being arranged in New Delhi against Nepal’s decision to amend its Constitution, to include Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura in its maps.

“It is unthinkable… the things that are happening in Delhi against the amendment to the Constitution… Listen to the Delhi media. Look at the meetings being organised in India,” he was quoted as saying.

Following the statement, the ruling party leaders including Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal and Bamdev Gautam demanded that he resign both as party co-chairperson and prime minister.

At a meeting of the standing committee of the Nepal Communist Party on Tuesday, former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda was among those who slammed Oli for his remarks.

"The prime minister's remarks that India was conspiring to remove him was neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate... Not India, it is me who is demanding your resignation. You must furnish proof of such irresponsible remarks," Prachanda was quoted as saying, adding that Oli’s statement might undermine the relationship with India.

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